Snow Leopards and Stem Cells

Saving the Snow Leopard With Stem Cells

Because today was the first snow of the season by me, I decided to stick with the theme and write about one of my favorite critters: The Snow Leopard!!! They are currently listed as endangered and their populations are decreasing. This article reiterates that because of their elusive nature and stalking skills, there is not accurate data on the total number of snow leopards left in the wild. The estimations vary between 3500 and 7000.

This article, from about a year ago, introduces the idea of stem cell research on snow leopards. The breakthrough of producing embryonic stem-like cells (induced pluripotent stem “iPS” cells) from an adult snow leopard opens many doors for future research and the survival of the species. It is extremely significant because of the difficulty of obtaining reproductive cells from the animals. Hopefully the cells can be used in future cloning and other reproduction practices. This is important because it is common to have issues getting animals to reproduce in captivity. Furthermore with populations declining in the wild, it is vital to understand how to boost the populations and get them reintroduced into the wild when all one has to work with are captive animals.

snow leopard


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